One of the most critical parts of your licensing journey will be finding the right retail cannabis location. This process can be frustrating, confusing, and demoralizing, but it doesn’t need to be. If you go into this with the right mindset and leave your ego at the curb, we can help you choose a location for your dispensary.
There are a few things you need to know, including your specific state, city, and county’s regulations regarding your location, foot traffic, and size.
Why finding a retail cannabis location can be so difficult
When you first get started with your application process, you may be required to have a location picked out in advance. This will be a good introduction into the reality of the cannabis industry if you haven’t got a taste of it already.
Be prepared for rejection, dead ends, and false starts. The battle you are fighting has many different moving parts. You will need to find a location that is compliant, with a landlord or owner that is willing to work with a cannabis business, and the location itself needs to be ideal for selling cannabis!
Know your state, city, and county regulations
The first huge hurdle you’ll face in finding a location for your retail cannabis store is navigating all the various regulations. If you are in a smaller city, this will be difficult.
For example, in Washington, dispensaries may not operate within a 2,000 feet diameter of a school, library, hospital, city parks, or daycares. If you were to pull up google maps and drop 2,000-foot circles on these locations (I recommend you do this), you will see that you are pretty limited in options. You may be forced to shop on the outskirts of town, in less trafficked areas. This is less than ideal, but part of the process.
Establish a relationship with realtors and landlords
In some areas, adult-use and medical cannabis is becoming very accepted. In other areas, such as Oklahoma, it is very new, and people are still widely uneducated on the plant. Once you have determined what areas you can legally operate in, the next step is getting on the phone with property owners.
When I was searching for a retail cannabis location, I was hung up on, shut down, and roadblocked around 40 times. Some of this may be due to them not liking what you represent (cannabis).
However, a lot of it will be them not knowing how doing business with a cannabis company will affect them, and potentially fearing how your presence could affect other tenants in the area they work with.
The bottom line is that in many states, cannabis is still a controversial subject, and people may be hesitant to conduct business with you.
Your best approach is being honest with these landlords, mortgage holders, or realtors – tell them your intentions are to operate a legal retail cannabis storefront and would like to discuss the possibility of renting out their location.
What to look for in the location itself
Once you have narrowed down your location options, hopefully, you have plenty to choose from. When selecting a retail cannabis location, there are a few things you should look for:
- Building size – The square footage of your potential building will be a huge factor in whether it is an ideal location or not. Most dispensaries operate out of 2,000 square feet or less. You don’t need a huge warehouse or commercial facility, a simple building will do just fine.
- Parking – Consider parking space as well – your customers will definitely remember their first experience at your retail cannabis location, and if they have to park on a side street and walk 5 minutes to your business, or cross busy intersections, they will not be happy. Finding a building with plenty of parking is ideal.
- Foot Traffic – I know it’s going to be difficult to get a prime location with plenty of foot traffic, and beggars can’t be choosers, but strategically consider your location. How visible is it from main roads? What other businesses are nearby that get lots of visitors? These are important questions to ask.
- Location Demographics – Many people wonder what the best demographic is for your retail cannabis location. Ideally, an above-median income demographic of younger, working folks would be the demographics of your location. The location itself should be in a nice area, to throw off the scent of that “pot shop” vibe and convey a professional, high-quality brand.
Get help finding your retail cannabis location
I can help you find a location for your retail cannabis storefront. This process can be demoralizing and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been in your shoes, and know what it takes to secure an ideal location for your business.
If you want help or just have questions about choosing a location, reach out to me and I’ll help you navigate this cumbersome process. After all, your location will be a huge determinant in whether or not your business succeeds.